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Samsung Pay now lets you buy and use gift cards

As promised, Samsung today released an update for its Samsung Pay mobile wallet app that adds support for gift cards. The company says "50 popular merchant gift cards" can be used at launch from stores including Gap, Banana Republic, Staples, GameStop, Toys R Us, and Whole Foods. Gift cards from Regal cinemas, eBay, and a pretty random mix of other businesses can also be used starting today.

The list of merchants looks pretty similar to what you'd see walking over to the gift card rack at a grocery store — and that's probably the point. Alongside enabling support for gift cards, Samsung Pay also now includes a built-in store where you can purchase them, either for your own use (why would anyone do that?) or as gifts for other people. Here's what that looks like:

Samsung Pay gift cards

Gift cards show up in a separate tab from the credit and debit cards you've got stored in Samsung Pay. And using them is really no different from what you get with Apple's Wallet app (which also supports gift cards) or Android Pay. Merchants can scan the gift card details on your screen or enter a code, and if they choose, they can also take advantage of the Samsung's very cool magnetic secure transmission (MST) technology to mimic a physical card, so you can hold the phone near a card reader just like other Samsung Pay transactions. The app is quickly growing more comprehensive if you're someone who's tired of keeping track of plastic cards for multiple stores. The company has said that support for Discover credit cards will come in 2016.

Update December 10th 5:00PM ET: The article has been updated to reflect that some giftcards can use Samsung Pay's MST technology for payments.